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Urban Farms Bike Tour = Sunday Fun Day Adventure

| 7/1/2011 2:32:01 PM

One advantage city farmers have over their rural counterparts: Accessibility. The farms and gardens are more easily visited and admired by neighbors and other city dwellers, and it’s easier for the farmers to bring their harvest to market. Proving this point was last weekend’s Urban Farms Bike Tour in Kansas City, where I biked with a group of fellow riders to four urban farms, all by pedaling a mere 9.6 miles. (When I worked on an organic farm last year, I biked 10 miles each way to get to work every day!) 

The organized bike ride, hosted by Cultivate Kansas City, went to many different types of gardens, but all of them practiced organic methods. The first garden, at the Niles Home for Children (conveniently located at the top of a steep hill!), was accompanied by a thorough tour of the beautiful grounds. The children help the lead gardener cultivate a variety of vegetables and fruits, which are used in the center’s kitchen and sold in a small weekly market. Apart from raising food, the children also participate in carbon sequestration by grinding charcoal that is then added to the garden beds to create a small-scale version of the Amazon’s rich terra pretas.  Here, the lead gardener shows off his strawberry and raspberry patches.

Niles Home For Children 

We pedaled our way downhill to Root Deep Urban Farm, where the raspberries were ripe (and so tasty) and the freshly made basil lemonade was refreshing and ice cold. Her single-lot space produced enough food to sell at a large weekly farmers market, as well as provide the farmer with enough food to eat fresh, share with friends and preserve for most of winter. We all gathed into her garden for a group shot, right behind one of her herb beds.

Deep Roots Urban Farm 

When we reached Emmanuel’s Community Garden, we were greeted with homemade cherry tomato and goat cheese tarts before getting a little background on the plot. The garden is maintained by a group of nearly 100 high school students who participate in after-school and summer programming, which also includes computer training and even sewing classes! The director hopes to use some of the tomatoes and peppers as a fundraiser for the program by contracting with area restaurants later in the season. I was so happy to get the tasty tart, I had to take a picture:

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